Is Your School Day Too Short?
The duration of a typical school day is a concern for many institutions and stakeholders. Throughout the world, schools either have short days, from 9 am to 3 pm or long days that usually start at 7.30am and end at 4 pm. Some educationists have argued that the day is not short at all. In fact, it's long as students have to start travelling to their respective school as early as seven o'clock. Many students commute in public buses or school buses, trains and cars. They travel first to avoid the early morning rush but eventually get caught up in the traffic. Nine o'clock is the proper time for students to get to school. And the same is for teachers. They also set off early to make it in time to their schools. Most parents are unhappy with the fact that students get let off school as soon as 2.30pm or 3 pm. They worry about what their children are up to. Some parents work till five or six in the evening, and they don't like the idea of leaving the children without adult supervision. Parents want their jobs to be synchronised with their children's school timings.
When it comes to students, they don't like the idea of long days. It is because they already burdened with loads of homework and assignments. They need time to get it done. Then there are extra-curricular activities to participate in such as sports, debates and drama clubs. The practices and rehearsals are mainly held after school hours. Some students opt for part-time jobs to help out their families. They can easily engage in this if the school days are short. Many educationists prefer long days because then teachers wouldn't have to rush through the syllabus or curriculum for the exams. Educationists also argue that there's less instructional time in short days so students don't get much to learn. In the US, educationists say that the school year is very short compared to their neighbouring nations. In Brazil, a typical school day starts at 7 am and ends at noon; in Australia, its 9 am to 3.30pm; in China, an average school day is 7.30am to 5 pm; in France, its 8 am to 4 pm; and in Russia, its 8.30am to 3 pm. The timings depend on the school year, for example, in South Korea, the typical school year starts in March and ends in February; and in Australia its late January to mid-December. It differs from region to region, hemisphere to hemisphere; such as, when it's summer in the Northern Hemisphere, it's winter in the Southern Hemisphere and vice-versa, thus the difference in school years and timings.
Long Hours - Good or Bad
In long school hours, students get to learn a lot. The periods are longer, and students get time to engage in extra-curricular activities and sports apart from academics. The extended hours provide a space for diverse learning. Teachers don't need to rush through the syllabus or curriculum. They can give the needed attention to the students. Teachers can work on the students' weaknesses and strengths. And at the end of the year, the students can get good grades and achievements. Some teachers, who are for short hours, say that long hours make the students captive in the classroom. Students easily get bored. They lose interest and concentration. No matter, how interesting the teacher makes the topic or session to be, students get bored. And long hours don't help much in retaining knowledge. It's up to the students themselves as to how much information they retain or remember. Students are different individuals, and they have different capabilities, skills and intelligence quotient. Some students are good at academics, and some are good in sports. They have different interests. Teachers should try to reach out to all of them. With long school hours, students don't get time to do their own thing. They don't get to socialise with their friends and family as they have homework and assignments to do. While it may be useful for parents who work till late in the office, it's not right for the family as a whole. It makes the relationship unhealthy. And by the time, students go home from school; they are exhausted and hungry. They get easily irritated and frustrated. Long hours means more school work and pressure to do better.
Students say that everything should be balanced out. School work, leisure activities and free time; students need free time to wind down and do what they like. They should also be given the time and space to relax.